In an effort to raise awareness about what is happening to our most beloved animals, I started making animal portraits with paper clay on wood panels. Ideally, in time, and with a lot more animal portraits, I plan to create a traveling exhibit that encourages interest in activism and donating to help save these animals from extinction. The disturbing title, juxtaposed with party hats on the animals makes people read further to understand the meaning. The pieces are not for sale, but I do have cards, prints and t-shirts available for purchase and will eventually add them to my shop. A portion of the proceeds from those sales will be donated to conservancy organizations.
Click on the pages below to see what you can do to help!
Scroll down to see the images and read what is happening right now.
Experts say the African elephant could be extinct within a decade. Between 2010 and 2012 alone, 100,000 African elephants were poached — killed for their tusks. That’s a dead elephant every 15 minutes, much faster than the animals can reproduce. African elephants have less room to roam than ever before as expanding human populations convert land for agriculture, settlements and developments. Commercial logging, plantations, and mining not only destroy habitat but open access to remote elephant forests for poachers. Poverty, armed conflict and the displacement of people by civil conflict also add to habitat loss and fragmentation. Support organizations that help expand protected elephant habitat.
At the current rate, experts claim hippos will become extinct soon because hunting increased when their meat became a major food source during wartime chaos in their habitats and because African elephants, also disappearing, make the hippo's teeth the next alternative to ivory. Donate to organizations dedicated to saving the hippo from extinction.
Populations of leopards in North Africa, the Middle East and Russia are now critically endangered. Loss of habitat and prey, as well as intense persecution as livestock killers, is the chief threat to this magnificent big cat. They are heavily hunted in southern Asia for their skin and bones, supplying the Chinese medicinal trade. In western and central Africa, they are hunted for their skins, teeth and claws. In tropical forests, bushmeat hunting competes directly for prey species and may drive them to extinction even in forests that have not been logged. Support organizations that work to save leopards and other big cats from extinction.
THE POLAR BEAR
Polar Bears are in serious danger of going extinct due to global warming. Research shows that it's not too late to take action to save sea ice and polar bears by greatly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Do your part to help stop climate change. Visit this website to see what you can do to help save the polar bear from extinction: https://polarbearsinternational.org/get-involved/actions-with-impact/
Giraffes are suffering a “silent extinction” as they are poached for bushmeat, skins, tails, and erroneous beliefs that their brains and bone marrow can cure HIV/Aids. Giraffe tails are considered to be good luck charms and exceedingly treasured by African cultures. Giraffes are frequently targeted by U.S. trophy hunters who pay thousands of dollars to shoot big game ‘prizes.’ Keep giraffe populations from plummeting further, support the conservation of viable and existing giraffe habitats.
Wolves are described as a “keystone species,” whose presence is vital to maintaining the health, structure and balance of ecosystems. Gray Wolves were once shot, trapped and poisoned to near extinction in the US. Now they are being slowly restored in northwestern states, but the current administration wants to remove them from the endangered species list as ranchers complain they are attacking livestock. Fight to keep wolves on the endangered species list.
Zebras are over-hunted for their meat and their distinctive skins. Serious danger to zebra populations is also being caused by habitat loss due to human encroachment, agricultural practices, and livestock grazing. Habitat degradation and fragmentation forces the animals to travel great distances to eat or drink, causing a higher rate of foal mortality. Help by donating to organizations that work to preserve and expand zebra populations.
The main reason that panda populations have declined is habitat destruction. As the human population in China continues to grow, panda habitat gets taken over by development, pushing them into smaller and less livable areas. Habitat destruction and fragmentation leads to food shortages. Support organizations that work to expand panda habitats in China.
The prospect of losing the last of the world’s wild tigers within the next five years continues to loom as international conservation groups work hard to save the them from extinction. Efforts to reduce the demand for tiger parts and strengthen protected-area laws against poaching are very expensive to monitor and enforce. Donate to organizations dedicated to saving wild tigers from extinction.
Today, there are fewer than 25,000 wild African lions left. In just two decades, the lion population has decreased by 42%. One main cause is habitat loss due to expanding human populations and the growth of agriculture, settlements, and roads. Lions are forced into closer quarters with humans causing them to attack livestock and farmers retaliate by killing lions. They are also being killed in rituals of bravery, as hunting trophies, and for their perceived medicinal and magical powers. Support organizations dedicated to saving lions from extinction.
Rhinos are illegally hunted for their horn which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years, as it is ground into a powder and consumed. Their horns are also used as handles for ornamental daggers, and in some cases owning a rhino horn is purely for image and social status. Support organizations that work to prevent illegal poaching of rhinos.
If the main threats to orangutans – palm oil plantations, deforestation, poaching, hunting and trapping for the pet trade – are not addressed in a serious, urgent and sustained manner, wild orangutans will be gone from this earth in less than 50 years. Donate to organizations that help to protect orangutans and their habitats.
In recent decades gorilla populations have been severely affected by habitat loss, wars, disease and poaching. Subsequently all gorilla species are classified as either critically endangered or endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Less than 17% of gorillas live in protected areas, while the rest inhabit forests where they live under constant threat. Support organizations dedicated to preserving their habitat and saving gorillas from extinction.